CLYDE — The District 3-3A Division I schedule continued to be unkind to the Early Longhorns Friday night.
Following a narrow 49-35 loss to Eastland last week — a game in which Early led 21-14 at halftime — the Longhorns weren't as fortunate Friday night, as the Clyde Bulldogs dominated from start to finish in a 41-12 triumph.
Clyde (3-4, 1-1) owned a 27-0 lead over Early (4-3, 0-2) just 52 seconds into the second period, tallied the first five touchdowns overall and did not allow the Longhorns to light up the scoreboard until the 2:41 mark of the third period.
“It wasn't a good night for the Horns,” said Early fourth-year head coach Blake Sandford. “We just have to go fix the things we know how to fix and get better at playing the game.”
In pre-district action, Early yielded 20 points and 265 yards per game, but against 3-3A Division I foes the Longhorns have surrendered 45 points and 563 yards per outing. Eastland chalked up 611 yards last week, while the Longhorns gave up 462 yards to Clyde — 315 rushing on 47 carries and 147 passing while connecting on 5 of 6 attempts.
Clyde quarterback Dylan Neuman completed all his passes in the first half , with Payton Burton hauling in a team-best three grabs for 99 yards. The Bulldogs also featured a balanced rushing attack led by 69 yards from Burton, 65 from Donovan Gomez, 62 from Bo Baker, 61 from Neuman and 58 from John Ritchey.
On the offensive end, Early struggled to find a rhythm most of night. Producing 39 points and 465 yards — 267 passing and 198 rushing — through the first seven games, the Longhorns mustered just two touchdowns and 298 total yards –— 242 through the air and 56 on the ground — against Clyde, with a pair of turnovers.
Ryan Trompler completed 23 of 40 passes with one touchdown and one interception, while rushing for a team-best 20 yards and another score. Timmy Smithson caught 12 passes for 102 yards, Ty Schafer hauled in five receptions for 84 yards and Jonathan Morales finished with two grabs for 34 yards and a trip to the end zone.
Clyde took the opening drive 75 yards in eight plays, aided by a pass interference call against Early, one of seven flags for 70 yards against the Longhorns. A 23-yard scramble by Neuman moved the ball into Early territory, and Neuman completed the drive with a 14-yard scoring toss to Christian Deal at the 8:52 mark.
Early picked up one first down on its opening drive, thanks to a 12-yard screen pass from Trompler to Jesson Tarrant, but the Longhorns were then forced to punt.
The Bulldogs were back in the end zone just three plays later, as Neuman hooked up with Burton on a 71-yard catch and run for a 14-0 lead with 6:04 left in the first.
The Longhorns went three-and-out on their second possession before again punting the ball to Clyde.
Needing just four plays, the Bulldogs stretched the lead to 21-0 on a 21-yard scoring sprint by Burton with 3:28 left in the opening frame. The touchdown was set up by a 35-yard pass from Neuman to Jax Roam — a play in which Neuman slipped and almost fell coming out out from under center yet maintained his balance, then the Longhorns were flagged for roughing the passer.
Early fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but the Longhorns forced Clyde into the first of its three punts. But two plays after the punt, Trompler was picked off by Jackson South with 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
Following a 28-yard run by Baker, Neuman added a 6-yard touchdown carry to cap the 34-yard scoring drive as Clyde led 27-0 with 11:08 left in the first half.
During Clyde's opening four-touchdown flourish, the Bulldogs outgained Early in total yardage, 244-23, while creating the Longhorns' two turnovers. At the end of the first half, where Early still trailed 27-0, the Longhorns had been outgained 287-85.
The Bulldogs pushed the advantage to 34-0 with 6:09 to go in the third, marching 76 yards in seven plays to score on their first possession of the second half. Gomez found the end zone on a 21-yard carry to culminate the possession.
Early's first two drives of the second half stalled at the Clyde 24 and 10, respectively, but the Longhorns forced and recovered a Bulldog fumble on their own 23 at 3:32 of the third. Three plays later, the Longhorns finally reached the end zone on a 17-yard toss from Trompler Morales, who broke a couple of tackles inside the 5 to reach the end zone.
Trailing 34-6 at 2:41 of the third, Early surrendered Clyde's final touchdown on nine-play, 73-yard trek. Ritchey scored on a 8-yard carry with 9:13 remaining.
The Longhorns tacked on their second touchdown with 2:43 to go as a 12-play, 81-yard journey concluded with an 8-yard keeper by Trompler.
Early returns home next week to host Breckenridge (2-5, 0-2) — which is coming off a 44-41 loss to Eastland — as both teams vie for their first district victory and attempt to keep their postseason hopes alive.
CLYDE 41, EARLY 12
SCORE BY QUARTER
Early 0 0 6 6 - 12
Clyde 21 6 7 7 - 41
C: Christian Deal 14 pass from Dylan Neuman (L.J. Bailey kick), 8:52, 1st — 0-7
C: Payton Burton 71 pass from Neuman (Bailey kick), 6:04, 1st — 0-14
C: Burton 21 run (Bailey kick), 3:28, 1st — 0-21
C: Neuman 6 run (kick failed), 11:08, 2nd — 0-27
C: Donovan Gomez 21 run (Bailey kick), 6:09, 3rd — 0-34
E: Jonathan Morales 17 pass from Ryan Trompler (kick failed), 2:41, 3rd — 6-34
C: Josh Richey 8 run (Bailey kick), 9:13, 4th — 6-41
E: Trompler 17 run (run failed), 2:43, 4th — 12-41
First Downs 14 24
Total Offense 298 462
Rushing Yards 19-56 47-315
Passing Yards 242 147
C-A-I 23-40-1 5-6-0
Fumbles Lost 1 1
Punts 3-43.3 3-37.3
Penalties 7-70 6-60
E: Ryan Trompler 4-20, Jose Pesina 4-18, Cale Wade 8-10, Stephen Holt 2-5, Jesson Tarrant 1-3.
C: Payton Burton 9-69, Donovan Gomez 6-65, Bo Baker 6-62, Dylan Neuman 17-61, Josh Richey 9-58.
E: Trompler 23-40-1-242
C: Neuman 5-6-0-147.
E: Timmy Smithson 12-102, Ty Schafer 5-84, Jonathan Morales 2-34, David Shields 2-5, Jesson Tarrant 1-12, Holt 1-5.
C: Burton 3-99, Jax Roam 1-34, Christian Deal 1-14.